Emmanuel Jal is a South Sudanese-Canadian artist, actor, former child soldier, and political activist. Emmanuel started his life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s. He now lives in Toronto, Canada. Jal has released six award nominated studio albums. Drawing on his personal experiences and background, he speaks and performs with a strong message of reconciliation and peace, and has addressed the UN, US Congress, the Carter Centre, the World Economic Forum and the very highest level of several governments.
In 2008 a full-length documentary on his life was released. The film, Warchild, won 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. In the same year, his autobiography, also called Warchild, was published. Jal co-starred in the movie The Good Lie, which tells the story of four young Sudanese refugees who win a lottery for relocation to the United States, and he also appeared in the major motion picture Africa United, released in October 2010. During his career, he has been involved with a number of global charity organizations, including the British Council, the Child Soldiers Initiative, Amnesty International and Oxfam. In 2010, Jal released the ‘We Want Peace’ campaign that called for peace, protection, and justice for all of Sudan and around the world.
For his outstanding commitment to peacebuilding, Jal has been awarded the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent 2018, Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Award 2017, Hero in the global campaign against violent extremism – UNESCO 2016, The Hunt Humanitarian Award, The Dresden Peace Prize and The Common Ground Award amongst others. Jal's greatest passion is his charity which he founded in 2009 Gua Africa which supports those affected by war and poverty from South Sudan.